I’ll admit that I’ve really slacked off in terms of reading New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz’s blog. And now that I have a chance to glance at it, I think he’s deliberately being dumb to keep me on my toes. For example, yesterday he wrote “Imagine for a moment that the United States has mounted an attack on Mexico or Cuba, truly an unimaginable act.”
Unimaginable indeed. Except the United States has invaded both Mexico and Cuba in the past, multiple times each. Indeed, at this very day the United States maintains a large military installation on Cuban soil despite the objections of the Cuban government. And that installation is the legacy of decades of colonial domination of Cuba by the United States. And when America’s preferred proxy ruler of Cuba was overthrown by a new dictator, we tried several times to overthrow his government — once sponsoring an invasion — and have subjected the country to a devastating embargo for decades in an effort to keep him out of power.
Now nothing in America’s fairly long history of shabby acts toward our “near abroad” comes close to justifying Russia’s bad actions in its near abroad. But they do provide the necessary context of fairly banal great power politics rather than terrifying and unprecedented expansionism.